I have become bored with car shows in my old age. I don’t hate the occasional Cars & Coffee because I can stroll through the parking lot and then leave when I’ve had a chance to talk to someone I might know or who has an interesting car. I’ve seen enough time out dolls leaning on Mustangs while listening to “Wipe Out” played on obnoxiously loud speakers to last a lifetime. I would rather spend the time I have available for car things either racing, driving or getting the cars ready to race or drive. This is what cars were meant to do. Car shows are watching your favorite football team stand around the sideline doing nothing. Driving one’s enthusiast car is participating in the game.
The exception to this acrimony for car shows is one that defies these norms – Radwood. I eagerly anticipated Radwood PNW 2022, in Tacoma, Washington. Radwood celebrates cars and culture from the 1980s and 1990s. Participants dress in colorful outfits of the era and bring their cars, trucks, motorcycles and accessories while enjoying period-correct tunes played by a DJ. I was born in 1966 and earned my driver’s license in 1982, so cars from this generation strike a note with me. This was the height of my new car knowledge, when I would regularly hit the magazine rack at the 7-11 to purchase the latest Car and Driver, Road & Track, Automobile and Motor Trend. I read them from beginning to end and memorized as many statistics and impressions as my brain could hold. To this day, I can tell you what engine was available with which transmission in an ’80s F Body (the T5 manual couldn’t handle the torque of the 350, so that engine was available with an automatic only).
Radwood announced that the 2022 show in the Seattle area would be held at Griot’s Garage in Tacoma. I’ve attended several morning shows at Griot’s (“Caffeine and Gasoline”). It’s a nice venue right off the highway, their retail is open for sales and I needed to buy some detailing products. I’ve been a Griot’s customer since the 1990s and use their detailing products exclusively. They work well and they smell good. I signed up for the show which was the morning of August 27, entering the 1995 Mazda Miata and 1985 Plymouth Colt GTS Turbo. My daughter, who missed the 2021 Radwood at DirtFish because of a barrel race, enthusiastically agreed to drive one of the cars to the show.
To prepare for the show, I decided to freshen the Miata’s appearance. Its clear coat had begun to oxidize a bit and wasn’t looking its best. To remedy this, I washed the Miata and then spent a weekend polishing it with Griot’s Correcting Cream applied to the appropriate foam pad on a Griot’s buffer. I masked the gaps between panels so as not to stuff product into nooks and crannies that would be difficult to remove. Following Griot’s instructions resulted in a shiny, much-improved finish for the MX-5. Polishing the Montego Blue Mica paint helped to bring out the green in the greenish-blue color.
The Colt’s paint was in good condition, so a good wash was all it needed cosmetically. Mechanically, it’s been having a problem with hot starts. It it sits for a period of time after a drive, it will turn over but not fire. I suspect this was caused when, during a fuel leak repair in Weed, CA while driving it home, the mechanic routed the fuel hose over a hot hose. My theory is that the fuel is heating to the point that it is percolating, vapor locking or some such nonsense. I wrapped the fuel hose and the hose that was causing the fuel hose to heat up in an insulating wrap manufactured by DEI. Since doing so, I’ve had no trouble with hot starts, so fingers crossed that it’s fixed (I’d say it’s 50/50). The third car representing the family was my son’s Toyota MK3 Supra turbo with a 5-speed.
Saturday morning, I piloted the Miata south on Interstate 5 to Tacoma and encountered little traffic. My daughter drove the Colt, stopping for gas on the way even though she feared it wouldn’t start back up. It did. We arrived at Griot’s at approximately the same time and the Colt, Miata and my son’s Supra ended up in the same area. We encountered light rain on the way to the show, so my daughter engaged the windshield wipers. Just like the previous year’s Radwood, the windshield wiper blade fell off. Fortunately it wedged itself between the wiper arm and the windshield for the trip, so I was able to pop it back on when the car arrived at the show. Last time this happened, it was lost to the street. Note to self: figure out how to secure that wiper blade.
One of Radwood’s more charming aspects is period correct dress. Bright colors, baggy jeans, Vans shoes, popped collars. This is the place to see ’80s and ’90s vintage garb. I wouldn’t say the attire is representative of the era, though. Rather, it’s parody of that time’s fashion. Much of what you see walking around would have been mocked back in the day. That’s not to say that people didn’t dress like that, but those that did were on the fashion fringe. For example, I never owned a pair of acid washed jeans, but they are in healthy supply at Radwood. I was happy to see the best dressed award went to a woman in vintage Seattle Sonics apparel. Bring Back The Sonics!
We broke up the day by walking to a nearby Mexican restaurant for lunch. Walking around a car show all day can get tiring, so it was nice to sit down and relax for a bit before returning to the show. Highlights of the show included a Porsche 911 Slantnose Turbo, a pristine Lotus Turbo Esprit, and a Consulier GTP. Rather than describe all of the radness on display at Radwood, I’ll offer the photos, below. We all had a great time at the show and look forward to attending next year’s celebration of the ’80s and ’90s.